Three commissioners sign letter of support for Keystone pipeline

Three Scotts Bluff County Commissioners have signed a letter of support for the proposed Keystone XL pipeline.

Board Chair Mark Masterton, Sherry Blaha and Mike Marker said during Monday's board meeting they signed the letter as individual commissioners after the full five member board two weeks ago balked at signing the letter when opponents spoke against the environmental impacts of the project. Commissioners Steve Stratton and Ken Meyer did not sign the letter.

Masterton said the three commissioners signed the letter as part of their partnerships with the Heartland Expressway and the Ports to Plains Highway. Masterton said the three commissioners believe the project is the safest way to transport the tar sands oil from Canada to refineries in the south, will provide jobs and promote less dependency on foreign oil.

But Becky McMillan of Scottsbluff questioned why the commissioners would send the letter to the Obama administration when the pipeline does not directly impact the county and many other members of government boards in eastern Nebraska closer to the 1,200-mile pipeline route have decided not take a position on the controversial project.

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